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TV shows of yore...

I don't know if its just me or if you guys have noticed it too, but there seems to be a dearth of good tv shows out there. The only show I follow these days is The Good Wife (a legal drama), its kinda like The Practice... with a lot more power games and political drama thrown in. I think people seem to prefer different things nowadays ... like obscene crass humour as is evident in Two and a Half men, or shows that are deemed funny based on the personality of that one crazy character who livens up the show - Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory or Barney Stinson in How I Met Your Mother (take away Barney and Sheldon and both these shows will bite the dust). Then you have something like Glee, which is a huge success due to its happy song and dance routine, but hasn't got anything else worth talking about.

Anyway here's a post in memory of all those good times spent with family and friends... laughing, crying and learning from all the beloved characters of some of the best shows ever created for Television.

The Wonder Years

Me and the siblings loved this show, it centered round the childhood and the coming of age of the protagonist Kevin Arnold in the early 70's. Every episode made an impact, they stayed with you long after you were done watching them. The characters were brilliant; who can forget pretty naive Winnie Cooper, nerdy allergic Paul Pfifer, the jackass brother Wayne and the adorably cute Kevin Arnold. Every guy had a crush on Winnie Cooper growing up and I think they still do... she was quite a sight with her jet black long hair, that innocent trusting face and her natural grace. This show had some great writers, their lines are quoted even today... and they've made me tear up many a time with their poignantly loaded messages. I love this show, it was meaningful, relevant and it respected the very essence of human life on this planet; family, friends, love and life.


Frasier is without a doubt the best comedy show ever created in the history of mankind... no, I am not exaggerating. There are so many funny shows out there, but they've all got their irritating characters like Phoebe from Friends, or Raymond's parents from Everybody Loves Raymond, or Eric's mom and Ashton Kutcher in That 70's show. But Frasier was perfect in every way... and that's why I guess all the recent shows pale in comparison, nothing can live up to the standards set by Frasier. Frasier revolves round the life of Dr. Frasier Crane; a lovable, snobbish, pompous and intellectual radio psychiatrist (callers call in with their woes and Frasier gives them advice) who lives with his dad Martin Crane, a retired police officer and Martin's physical therapist/caretaker Daphne Moon. Frasier's high-strung younger brother, Dr. Niles Crane (also a psychiatrist and my favourite character) lives nearby and is exactly like Frasier, but more lovable. The Crane brothers live a cultured life, they are incredibly witty and highly intellectual... and this more often than not leads them into trouble cause they tend to over analyse things. The dad on the other hand is an easy going, laid back, down to earth person and how he handles these show off sons of his is hilarious. Roz Doyle (Frasier's friend/ producer) along with Eddie (Martin's talented dog) form the rest of this wonderful cast. If you want real entertainment for your soul, you should definitely check out this show.

Dharma and Greg

Just thinking bout Dharma makes me laugh, she is the free spirited girl born to bohemian hippie parents and her views on life or just about anything under the sun is so.... crazy yet heartwarming-ly refreshing. She's like a breath of fresh air, spreading joy and happiness (not to mention craziness) where ever she goes, its so easy to love a soul like hers and the wealthy Assistant District Attorney, Gregory Montgomery loses his heart to her on their first date and they end up getting married right away. This sets the ground for even more humour when the respective parents are introduced to each to other; Dharma's parents are so unconventional and weird, whereas Gregory's parents are uptight socialites who find it difficult to accept their son's new age bride who performs cartwheels in her wedding gown. And this is just the first episode I am talking about... so imagine how entertaining the rest of the episodes are gonna be. I love Dharma, her full name is Dharma Freedom Finklelstein and she is one heck of a character, portrayed with great flair by Jenna Elfman. This is a hilariously inspiring show created by Chuck Lorre, the same guy who created The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men, sadly these recent shows seem to lack that endearing charm and goodwill inherent in Dharma and Greg.


No sitcom list is complete without this iconic and ground breaking TV show that ruled the ratings for a decade, and created six of the most memorable and legendary characters ever conceived; Monica and Ross Geller, Rachel Green, Chandler Bing, Joey Tribbiani and Phoebe Buffay. Friends is a captivating masterpiece and everybody who grew up watching these six guys, wanted to belong to a group just like that... I know I did. They were that influential and inspiring, they helped us deal with day to day situations and they infused a lot of humour into our lives. I remember dreading something and wondering how I was gonna make it through the day and some random joke Chandler cracked would make me smile and help calm the jitters. Yeah, Chandler is my favourite character, and among the girls I like Monica and Rachel. We girls (me, shilpa and anju) even hit upon a solution to get a vague idea bout the basic character of a guy during the potential proposal phase (this is how an arranged marriage works, a number of proposals come your way and the parents screen them and select the one who seems worthy) by asking the guy who his favourite (male) character was in Friends. The answer almost always determines the nature of the person... if the answer was Chandler, it means the guy was probably witty and easy going with a great sense of humour. If he says Ross, it probably means he's a goofy nerd with a head full of useless facts like Ross. And if he replies Joey then you can bet he's not the intellectual type, he's the guy who likes slapstick comedy, the kind of guy who never grows up and whose major happiness lies in food (and girls). I remember asking Antonio this question the very first time we spoke, but he only had a vague idea bout the show, he wasn't into Friends. Anyway, Shakespeare came to his rescue and that's how we ended up together. Coming back to Friends, the  show started out great, the characters seemed real and ordinary enough... like us regular folks. Then somewhere along the line the show became a runaway hit and gained cult status, and things changed subtly. The women no longer looked real or like the person next door, they became celebrities and started looking... perfect. That was what ruined it for me... after they became celebrities and started earning a million dollars per episode they just seemed aloof, know what I mean. They lost their cuteness, their chubbiness, their disheveled   appearance... they all became really thin, and wore perfectly fitting clothes all the time, and their hair was forever sun kissed and blow dried to perfection. I kinda lost interest in them somewhere in the middle...

Well, there are a few more hilariously good shows like the Happy Days, The Hogan Family, Mind Your Language, Charles in Charge etc... but I already wrote too much here, so maybe some other time. 


Eve said…
This was such a lovely trip down memory lane. I had tears in my eyes for those long lost days, where there was always the HUMONGOUS tension of making it home in time to catch the next episode of the Wonder Years / Happy Days / Doogie Howser M.D. / oh you get the idea. Thanks a lot Kavitha. T'was surely a most beauteous memory.
u havent mentioned Charles in Charge the reason u started watching SITCOMS.
Karen Xavier said…
Oh my God, Manoj!!!! I can't believe I forgot that!!! That is exactly the reason I started watching sitcoms... will add that now.
PurpleHeart said…
Wow ! That's really a lot of television ! I did lose my love for friends after a point too...the comedy stopped working and like you rightly said, the characters just turned so unreal!That along with Ev.loves Raymnd were the ones I kick started my American television viewing with. Do you happen to like Office ? I think that's pretty cool a show too.

By the ways, I hope Antonio turned out to be Chandler for you in all the beautiful ways ! :)
Karen Xavier said…
Priya, yeah I remember those days... trying to get your parents to finish the rosary early so we could watch these shows :)

Sandhya, I haven't seen any episode of the Office, don't know why, should check it out sometime. Raymond is hilarious, I like his wife Debra. And yes, Antonio turned out to be better than Chandler and funnier too! :o)
Jude said…
Did you know the actress who plays dharma dabbles in scientology?
Karen Xavier said…
Jude, I did not know that... so different from her character dharma, who encouraged and embraced hinduism.
Jane Hamilton said…
Oh wow! You spoke about FRIENDS, and for that reason alone, this post is the AWESOMEST! :D

I have been watching reruns of Frasier, and I can't believe how funny those guys are!! There was this one episode where Niles has moved to a posh building where they are not allowed to keep cats and dogs as pets. So Niles, having bought a new parakeet, now decides to invite all his "posh" neighbors for a party. The fun begins when the parakeet gets startled for some reason, and attaches its claws to Niles' head, and won't let go! HAHA What ensues is pure comedy gold! Someone advices Niles that he should relax the bird to make it let go of his scalp, and so he puts a giant cloth on the bird to make it think it is night time!! And he walks around with this cloth on the bird, on his head.... HAHAAH Oh Gosh, you have to see it to believe it! Those 2 brothers are side-splittingly good!

Thanks for this post, Karen. One more reason why I should never miss these shows. EVER.
Karen Xavier said…
Hey Jane, yes I did see that episode of Frasier... every episode is a treat. I don't think there will ever be another show like that... and you have to watch Dharma and Greg.

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